Research Article


DOI :10.26650/LITERA427136   IUP :10.26650/LITERA427136    Full Text (PDF)

Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks

Özge Sönmez

In the field of foreign language education, textbooks continue to be one of the most important support materials for language teachers. Foreign language teaching methods are updated according to the requirements and needs that continuously arise over time. Authors of textbooks update their materials by following these innovations. In the “foreword” section of each book, you can normally find the general aims of the book, its target public, methodologies and materials that are at the disposal of students, and their intended learning outcomes, and the methodology and materials that are at the teachers’ disposal. In this study, we aim to reveal hidden discourses in the “foreword” sections of textbooks. When these sections are considered as texts, they can be regarded as informative pieces of writing that inform their readers about the overall purpose of writing a book, about the actual book that they refer to, and about the overall characteristics of the subject area. Consequently, in this research, we attempt to first classify various types of text. Second, we aim to clarify what types of “foreword” sections can in effect be examined. And finally, we analyze the linguistic deviations and masked discourses that were found in the structures of these text. Altogether, we examined 13 French textbooks—ranging from level 1 to teens and adults—to offer a wide range of examples in this important research field. We believe that this work is particularly useful for those French teachers who are in the position of making the choice for their schools’ future textbooks based on the “foreword” sections of these books.

DOI :10.26650/LITERA427136   IUP :10.26650/LITERA427136    Full Text (PDF)

Les avant-propos comme masque du discours dans les manuels de FLE

Özge Sönmez

Dans le domaine de la didactique des langues étrangères, les manuels de langues gardent toujours leur place primordiale comme supports pour les enseignants. Les méthodologies se renouvellent selon les nécessités et les besoins. Selon ces renouvellements, les auteurs des manuels renouvellent leurs ouvrages. Du côté des enseignants, le choix de manuels demeure un problème épineux, car ils se trouvent souvent face à un large éventail de manuels qui leur promet un apprentissage « efficace » de langue. Quand il s’agit des avantpropos des manuels scolaires, la fonction conative entre en scène en raison du caractère central du public visé. Ce qui est prédominant dans ces textes, ce n’est pas seulement qu’ils s’appuient sur la fonction référentielle, et informative mais aussi par leur souci de vente où on rencontre plutôt la fonction conative et la volonté de convaincre le public visé. On peut préciser ces structures langagières dans ces textes, qu’elles soient implicites, ou explicites. Partant de cela, dans notre étude, nous allons classifier et analyser ces types de textes, puis nous essaierons de préciser leurs groupes. Ensuite nous tenterons de faire apparaître les écarts langagiers qui se situent dans la structure profonde de ces textes. Nous allons préciser la subjectivité dans les avant-propos des 13 manuels de français langue étrangère (du niveau A1 concernant les adolescents et les adultes) en classifiant les adjectifs, les substantifs et les adverbes utilisés dans ces textes. Nous suggérons que cette étude va être utile pour les enseignants du français.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


In the field of foreign language education, textbooks continue to be one of the most important support materials for language teachers. Foreign language teaching methods are updated according to the requirements and needs that continuously arise over time Authors of textbooks update their materials by following these innovations. Although the changing requirements of foreign language teaching seem to be the main reason for these updates, it is not possible to ignore the fact that the market for these books continues to be very competitive. On the other hand, for teachers, the selection of textbooks seems a major issue, for they have to choose among a wide range of books that promise “efficiency”, “speed”, and “long lasting learning”. It is evident that textbook publishers have financial concerns, too, as they aim to sell as many books as possible. In this case, neutrality becomes a risk factor. In the selection process of teachers, the “foreword” section of the textbook constitutes an important guide for the teacher, who is in the position of having to choose among many textbooks making vert similar promises. In the “foreword” section of each book, you can normally find the general aims of the book, its target public, methodologies and materials that are at the disposal of students, and their intended learning outcomes, and the methodology and materials that are at the teachers’ disposal. However, publishers’ concerns about sales and market competition can result in a gap between what is promised in these sections and what the contents of the book are in reality. Moreover, this situation can lead to a loss of impartiality. In this study, we aim to reveal hidden discourses in the “foreword” sections of textbooks. Although the propositions of textbooks are accepted as explanatory and informative texts, they are not expected to be completely neutral. Neutrality, in turn, is a complicated concept which is extremely difficult to define. The most important reason for this complexity is that every discourse produced by the subject has its own identity, intent, feelings, and so on, and it carries specific clues. For this reason, it is unlikely that any text appears completely unbiased. When the “foreword” sections of textbooks are accepted as a form of text and discourse, indeed, we can see that the purpose of speech, the subject of speech, its intended recipient, its target audience, and the chosen words and phrases to guide the target audience play a decisive role. When these sections are considered as texts, they can be regarded as informative pieces of writing that inform their readers about the overall purpose of writing a book, about the actual book that they refer to, and about the overall characteristics of the subject area. Although the informative features of text need to remain in the foreground, the conative function of these texts is also employed to convince the masses, because publishers have to simultaneously reach sales objectives. The informative features of texts—and their discursive structures aiming to convince the target group—can be either explicit or implicit in these “foreword” sections. Consequently, in this research, we attempt to first classify various types of text. Second, we aim to clarify what types of “foreword” sections can in effect be examined. And finally, we analyze the linguistic deviations and masked discourses that were found in the structures of these text. Altogether, we examined 13 French textbooks— ranging from level 1 to teens and adults—to offer a wide range of examples in this important research field. We gathered subjective words after we determined where the textbook propositions could classify among different text types. Our classification is based on the approach that Kerbrat-Orecchioni (1986) uses when determining the degree of subjectivity. As we classify adjectives, adverbs, actions, and pronouns in the “foreword” sections of 13 French textbooks, we also measure the frequency of these words. We attempt to evaluate the results that will be obtained later in the light of linguistic methods, and in so doing, we will reveal the degree of subjectivity. We believe that this work is particularly useful for those French teachers who are in the position of making the choice for their schools’ future textbooks based on the “foreword” sections of these books.


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References

  • Bachmann, C. Lindenfeld, J., & Simonin, C. (1981). Langage et communications sociales. Paris, FR: Hatier. google scholar
  • Bernicot, J., & Bert-Erboul, A. (2014). L’acquisition du langage par l’enfant. Paris, FR: In Press Editions. google scholar
  • Kerbrat-Orecchioni, C. (1997). L’énonciation. Paris, FR: Armand Colin. google scholar

Citations

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APA

Sönmez, Ö. (2018). Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 28(1), 15-31. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136


AMA

Sönmez Ö. Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies. 2018;28(1):15-31. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136


ABNT

Sönmez, Ö. Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 28, n. 1, p. 15-31, 2018.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Sönmez, Özge,. 2018. “Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 28, no. 1: 15-31. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136


Chicago: Humanities Style

Sönmez, Özge,. Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 28, no. 1 (Dec. 2022): 15-31. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136


Harvard: Australian Style

Sönmez, Ö 2018, 'Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks', Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 15-31, viewed 2 Dec. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Sönmez, Ö. (2018) ‘Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks’, Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 28(1), pp. 15-31. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136 (2 Dec. 2022).


MLA

Sönmez, Özge,. Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol. 28, no. 1, 2018, pp. 15-31. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136


Vancouver

Sönmez Ö. Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies [Internet]. 2 Dec. 2022 [cited 2 Dec. 2022];28(1):15-31. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136 doi: 10.26650/LITERA427136


ISNAD

Sönmez, Özge. Hidden Discourses in the “Forewords” of French as a Foreign Language (FFL) Textbooks”. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 28/1 (Dec. 2022): 15-31. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA427136



TIMELINE


Submitted30.11.2017
Accepted04.05.2018
Published Online01.06.2018

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